Friday, 28 June 2013 - Sea Ice for Walrus Outlook

Weekly Outlook

Date: 
28 June 2013
Assessment of Current Ice Conditions Relevant to Distribution and Access of Walrus: 

Near St. Lawrence Island

St. Lawrence Island is completely sea ice free with the open water edge located roughly 70 miles to the north of the island.

Wales to Shishmaref

The seasonal melt has continued in the southern Chukchi Sea this past week. The Bering Strait and southern Chukchi Sea up to roughly 69.5 degrees north are mainly open water. No shorefast ice remains along the coastline from Wales to Shishmaref. The ice remaining consists of open to very open pack ice stretching up to 15 miles off the coastline. Bays and waters within the barrier islands are open water.

5 to 10 Day Forecast

A low-pressure system over the Chukchi Sea will bring southerly winds of 25 to 30 mph (20 to 25 knots) on Friday, 28 June. On Saturday, 29 June, the low will move over the northern Beaufort Sea as high pressure builds over the north slope of Alaska and southern Beaufort Sea through Sunday, 30 June. A large low will move into the Bering Sea late Sunday, passing over the Bering Strait Monday, 1 July and continuing over the East Siberian Sea Tuesday, 2 July, bringing southerly flow of 30 to 40 mph (25 to 35 knots) through the Bering Strait. A weaker low will pass over St. Lawrence Island Thursday, 4 July and remain over the Bering Strait region through Sunday, 7 July. Dominant winds out of the south during this forecast period will dramatically reduce the remaining sea ice along the coast and aid in shifting the ice further offshore from Wales to Shishmaref.

St. Lawrence Island wind direction and speed
Map of 10-day outlook of wind conditions
Bering Strait wind direction and speed

Arrows show wind direction and wind speed in mph

Remote Sensing Images

Bering Strait
St. Lawrence Island
Wales to Shishmaref

Observations and Comments

Observations of Sea Ice Development: 
Update on ice conditions in Anadyr Gulf

27 June 2013 - Hajo Eicken, University of Alaska Fairbanks

While waters around St. Lawrence Island in the surrounding Bering Sea are mostly ice-free, some remnant ice remains in Kresta Bay in the northwestern corner of Anadyr Gulf. The MODIS satellite scene below from a couple of days ago shows the remnant shorefast ice cover, most likely in an advanced stage of decay. As pointed out earlier by local experts in Gambell (Paul Apangalook and the late Leonard Apangalook, Sr.), this Siberian ice is typically the last ice at the end of the season to come by St. Lawrence Island. Game animals such as walrus or bearded seal are typically absent from this ice. While break-up of Kresta Bay ice is late compared to a very unusual early break-up that we discussed in the SIWO in June of 2011, Igor Krupnik from the Smithsonian Institution has pointed out that historically, break-up and clearing of ice from the bay typically did not occur until much later in July. While some of this ice may make it out to St. Lawrence Island, most of it will likely melt in place.

26 June 2013 satellite image of Anadyr26 June 2013 satellite image of Anadyr

Update on ice conditions in Anadyr Gulf


27 June 2013 - Hajo Eicken, University of Alaska Fairbanks

While waters around St. Lawrence Island in the surrounding Bering Sea are mostly ice-free, some remnant ice remains in Kresta Bay in the northwestern corner of Anadyr Gulf. The MODIS satellite scene below from a couple of days ago shows the remnant shorefast ice cover, most likely in an advanced stage of decay. As pointed out earlier by local experts in Gambell (Paul Apangalook and the late Leonard Apangalook, Sr.), this Siberian ice is typically the last ice at the end of the season to come by St. Lawrence Island. Game animals such as walrus or bearded seal are typically absent from this ice. While break-up of Kresta Bay ice is late compared to a very unusual early break-up that we discussed in the SIWO in June of 2011, Igor Krupnik from the Smithsonian Institution has pointed out that historically, break-up and clearing of ice from the bay typically did not occur until much later in July. While some of this ice may make it out to St. Lawrence Island, most of it will likely melt in place.

26 June 2013 satellite image of Anadyr26 June 2013 satellite image of Anadyr